When an OB-GYN heard news of the Supreme Court decision on Monday about Louisiana’s controversial abortion law, it felt like a personal triumph.
“I know how many restrictions already exist in Louisiana and how difficult it was for me to get an abortion,” said JC, 31, who asked to use a pseudonym to protect her privacy.
He woke up to text messages and emails celebrating the ruling, which he said would preserve access in the state.
“It is important to take a moment and realize that it is finally a victory for the women of Louisiana,” she said.
Supreme Court President John Roberts sided with liberal judges on Monday in a 5-4 decision that struck down Louisiana law, which required a doctor who provides abortions to have hospital admission privileges at 30 miles from the clinic.
JC, which provides abortion services in Washington state, received abortion care in Louisiana seven years ago when she was a first-year medical student. After navigating access in the state, JC said, she is relieved that pregnant women in Louisiana have one less barrier to worry about when seeking care.
“For every woman, an abortion is an extremely personal decision,” she said. “It should be something that fits the woman and her doctor and it shouldn’t be legislated by people who have no idea what’s going on.”
Supporters of the right to abortion, who argued that the law reduces access without benefiting the health or safety of patients, praised the ruling.
“This is a victory for the people of Louisiana and the rule of law, but this case should never have gone so far,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
A plaintiff in the case, Kathaleen Pittman, clinic administrator at Hope Medical Group for Women, said there was excitement at the clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana.
“The law revoked today is just one in a sea of others that are intended to prevent us from serving our patients,” Pittman said.
Steffani Bangel, executive director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, said: “In celebrating today’s Supreme Court decision, do not confuse our celebration with accepting the status quo. Because the truth is that anti-abortion politicians have eroded the law legal abortion for decades, and although it is still the right, access to abortion is scarcer than ever. “
Supporters of the law still defended the requirement for admission privileges.
“The Supreme Court has issued a tragic decision that continues its practice of putting the interests of for-profit abortion companies above women’s health and safety,” said State Senator Katrina Jackson, a Democrat who was author of the law when she was at the state house.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, said in a statement: “It is deeply disappointing that the Chief Justice continues with a pattern of inconsistent and unfounded decisions.”
While the ruling is a victory for abortion rights advocates, some say the fight for reproductive access is not over.
Pearl Ricks, executive director of the Reproductive Justice Action Collective, said multiple restrictions on abortion should be lifted in Louisiana.
“There are many things that can be done to make abortion much more accessible in low-income and black communities and for undocumented people,” said Ricks. “I refuse to go through today pretending that those barriers don’t exist.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, agreed, saying she hopes states will soon follow Virginia’s lead, which is slated to repeal many long-standing abortion laws on Wednesday.
Miller added: “I was really proud that the work that my staff and our clinics in Texas did was able to bring this kind of relief to people on the Louisiana side.”